Local News

Dozens of bikes to be given to Moore children stolen

Posted December 27, 2016

— About 80 new bicycles that were to be given to Moore County children were stolen in Southern Pines on Christmas night, authorities said.

Earl Wright, who is known locally as "The Bicycle Man," gave away more than 700 bikes to children in Southern Pines on Christmas, and he planned to give the remaining bikes he had collected over the past year in his annual Project Santa effort to children in Robbins on New Year's Day.

But the bikes were stolen from a trailer parked outside the Fresh Foods IGA supermarket, at 750 SW Broad St., on Sunday night. The thieves also smashed used bikes that were in the trailer.

"I don't see how someone can steal something that's free. I don't understand it," Wright said.

He said he thought the bikes would be safe because they were in a well-lit parking lot on a busy street with security cameras nearby. Southern Pines police were reviewing the grocery store's security camera video for leads in the case.

News of the theft has prompted more donations, with a Fayetteville couple dropping four new bikes off at the Project Santa warehouse in Aberdeen on Tuesday afternoon.

"My wife was like, 'We should do something about that. We should go get some bikes.' So, we went and got some bikes," Justin DeBarry said.

"I was really mad about it," said his wife, Nadia Miller. "How can you do this to kids?"

After the 40-minute trip to deliver the bikes to Wright, Miller said she was pleased.

"It feels good. It feels good to do something for other people," she said.

Wright, who has given away bikes for more than 20 years, said this is the second time he's had some stolen. He's now considering whether to end his annual giveaway, but he still plans to be in Robbins on Sunday to provide as many bikes as he can to children there.

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